Glossary: text-world


A text-world is a mental image that is triggered by language and fleshed out by a reader's own background knowledge. For example, in the sentence the black dog looked menacingly at the nervous postman, a text-world is constructed out of nouns (dog, postman) and Modifiers in the form of adjectives (black, nervous) and adverbs (menacingly).

My knowledge of the world (in this instance of dogs and postmen) fleshes out the detail - although there is nothing in the text that states it, I imagine the dog to be big and snarling, and the postman to be wearing a uniform and carrying a large bag.

Thinking about language like this allows us to appreciate that the way we interpret texts is a result of two things: (1) the text itself, and (2) our own, unique personal experiences, memories and background knowledge.


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